The Ivy League
Friday, 4th October 2002, West Yorkshire
To make repairs on the shed we have to peel back the thick layer of ivy growing on it. Most of the growth is a variagated ivy (which I've always taken to be the Canary Island variety), which started off as a large house plant, a birthday present, many years ago, from my brother Bill and his wife. It grew too big for the studio so I planted it out, figuring that it might survive outdoors. It has now taken over the fence behind the greenhouse and it covers most of the shed.
It lies on the path around the shed like a thick door mat. It's like seeing a cross section of a block of flats; the spaces between the stems and aerial roots are filled by spotted slugs, curled up in their lairs, garden snails and brown-lipped snails and one smooth newt, also snugly curled up in one of the spaces.
Robin, dunnock and wren have all built their nests in it over the years.
We lever the shed out to get behind it. In the bottom of the hedge there are three frogs, each of them a similar size and a similar shade of green. Hunkered down amongst the debris and leaf litter there a medium-sized toad, which I pick up and release in pond, out of harm's way.
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